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Obama on bad relations with Republicans: "Both sides can take some blame"

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Friday, January 29, 2010; 4:12 PM

After addressing the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore on Friday, President Obama took a series of questions from the lawmakers. Here is a transcript of one of the questions posed to the president:

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REP. PETER ROSKAM (R-ILL.): Mr. President, I heard echoes today of the state senator that I served with in Springfield, and there was an attribute and a characteristic that you had that I think served you well there. You took on some very controversial subjects: death penalty reform. I -- you and I . . .

OBAMA: We worked on it together.

ROSKAM: . . . negotiated on.

OBAMA: Yes.

ROSKAM: You took on ethics reform. You took on some big things.

One of the keys was you rolled your sleeves up, you worked with the other party, and ultimately you were able to make the deal.

Now, here's an observation.

Over the past year, in my view, that attribute hasn't been in full bloom. And by that I mean, you've gotten the subtext of House Republicans that sincerely want to come and be a part of this national conversation toward solutions, but they've really been stiff-armed by Speaker Pelosi.

Now, I know you're not in charge of that chamber, but there really is this dynamic of, frankly, being shut out.

When John Boehner and Eric Cantor presented last February to you some substantive job creation, our stimulus alternative, the attack machine began to marginalize Eric -- and we can all look at the articles -- as Mr. No. And there was this pretty dark story, ultimately, that wasn't productive and wasn't within this sort of framework that you're articulating today.

So here's the question: Moving forward -- I think all of us want to hit the reset button on 2009, how do we move forward?


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